Energy Economy

US Oil Rig Count Unchanged This Week; Crude Price Down Slightly

In the week ended May 18, 2018, the number of land rigs drilling for oil in the United States totaled 844, unchanged compared to the previous week and 124 more than a total of 720 a year ago. Including 200 other land rigs drilling for natural gas and two listed as miscellaneous, there are a total of 1,046 working rigs in the country, up by one in the past week and up by 145 year over year. The data come from the latest Baker Hughes North American Rotary Rig Count, released on Friday afternoon.

This week marks the first week in the past seven when the oil rig count has not increased.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil for June delivery settled at $71.49 a barrel on Thursday and traded down about 0.3% Friday afternoon at $71.28 shortly before regular trading closed. Brent crude for July delivery traded at $79.07 a barrel.

The natural gas rig count rose by one to 200 this week. The count for natural gas rigs is now up by 20 from a year ago. Natural gas for June delivery traded up about 0.2% at around $2.86 per million BTUs, up about five cents compared to last Friday.

Although the national average pump price for regular gas is unchanged from about $2.92 a gallon, the weekly rise is five cents a gallon and the monthly rise is more than 17 cents. On this date last year, gasoline cost $2.34 a gallon.

According to GasBuddy, no state gas price yet averages $4 a gallon, with California’s $3.69 per gallon price being the highest average. But according to Tom Kloza at Oil Price Information Service (OPIS), one of every four U.S. gas stations is selling regular gas for more than $3 a gallon and one in every 400 is selling regular gas above $4 a gallon.

Among the states, Baker Hughes reported that New Mexico added three rigs this week, Texas had two more rigs this week and Kansas added one. Five states lost one rig each: Alaska, Colorado, Louisiana, North Dakota and Ohio.

In the Permian Basin of west Texas and southeastern New Mexico, the rig count now stands at 467, up by four compared with the previous week’s count. The Eagle Ford Basin in south Texas has 77 rigs in operation, one less week over week, and the Williston Basin (Bakken) in North Dakota and Montana now has 56 working rigs, down by one for the week.

Producers added one horizontal rig this week and the count rose to 919, while offshore drillers reported a total of 18, two less than last week’s count.